Article: For The Love Of Our Libraries

Why We Love Libraries

His library was a fine dark place bricked with books, so anything could happen there and always did. All you had to do was pull a book from the shelf and open it and suddenly the darkness was not so dark anymore. – Ray Bradbury, Farewell Summer.

To ask, “what is a library?” may be a question which gains nothing but confused looks and sniggers from those within hearing distance. Why, the answer is simple, isn’t it? A library is just a building like many others and inside that building books are kept. These books are available to be read free of charge within the library itself or taken out on loan to be read elsewhere until eventually being returned to its original shelf. Yes?

No. A library is so much more than that simplistic and mundane description. A library is a place in which every book lover may find solace. It is a haven in which books are kept and protected, waiting for the moment in which a curious individual chooses to pick them up and allow the book to transport them to whichever time, place, or other world that exists within its pages…

So how and when did the idea of such a place come into existence? If you look closely, libraries have existed throughout history in many shapes and forms, from temples filled with clay tablets and hieroglyphics to small book collections kept in monasteries, to the existence of public and even national libraries. They all serve the purpose of storing and providing access to official and legal records, historical and religious documents, and books of fact and fiction alike. By examining the history of libraries, we can see that they have existed almost for as long as humankind itself and holds significance to most—if not all—of the individuals alive today. Even within the modern world, libraries are available to the public in many forms, ranging from public libraries to academic libraries and even mobile libraries which essentially bring the books to you!

What is it, then, that makes libraries so popular? What makes them popular as to allow them to remain in existence and even to progress to a state in which books come to us, rather than the public having to travel to a library in pursuit of a good read?

Libraries now allow for a multitude of books to be accessible to the public ranging from all sorts of subject matters—books of facts, autobiographies, biographies, fictional works, graphic novels, and comic books… These can all be found under the roof of your nearest library. Of course, books are not all that can be found there. Throughout time, libraries have advanced and expanded their own horizons as to keep up with the times in which we live. Computers, e-books, audiobooks, and even amenities such as a café and public toilets can be found within the vicinity, allowing for individuals to spend hours upon end within the library. The best part of it all is that it’s free—aside from the café, of course!

The atmosphere of the library itself is something that is cherished by its visitors; the comforting silence which descends once you’ve entered the building, broken only by the sound of turning pages, computer keys being tapped away at ,and the hushed whispers of those excited readers conversing with one another. This topped with the friendly and comforting greetings given by the librarians themselves and the support, encouragement, and guidance which they provide further aid in making visitors feel welcome to both stay and return in the future. However, the amenities, atmosphere, and company aren’t the only things which makes going to a library worthwhile. Many libraries also hold events as well to attract more publicity and to give their visitors and readers a chance to interact with one another and sometimes even the beloved authors of their favourite books—as though libraries couldn’t get anymore incredible!

Furthermore, a library not only is special because of what it provides, but because of what else can be gained from it. Upon entering a library, there is an overwhelming sense of community and belonging which can be felt. A silent recognition between the individuals inside the building that each of them hold a mutual respect for the library’s rules and the library itself. Alas with these modern libraries being accessible to individuals of all ages it is understandable that, at times, us library-goers may take them for granted. The library acts as a second home to book lovers and with that comes the blissful ignorance at just how special the buildings and what they provide are.

Perhaps you are one of those who have fallen into the unfortunately inevitable habit of entering a library, grabbing the books you want and leaving in a hurry to read them in the comfort of your own home… If this is the case, then why not take a few moments the next time you are visiting your local library to stop and observe. Look around at the others seated with their eyes plastered to the pages of books, the shelves filled with endless opportunities to venture to somewhere new and admire just how majestic and wondrous the library truly is!

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Article: Reasons To Watch: Merlin (TV Show)

Merlin TV Series

Young Merlin is far from ordinary. Possessing the power of magic, Merlin longs for someone to teach him how to hone his skills and give him purpose. Arriving in Camelot, the young Sorcerer learns that his destiny is much greater than he could have perceived: to protect the Prince, Arthur Pendragon, so that he can – one day – become the King of Camelot and unite the lands. However, Merlin must be careful as both friend and foe alike pose threat and he must protect Arthur whilst also hiding the fact that he has magic – for in Camelot magic is outlawed and being exposed could just mean that Merlin is put to death…

If, after reading that, you are still uncertain as to whether or not you should put aside some of your time and dedicate it to watching (or re-watching) the show, then here are a few reasons as to why that is exactly what you should do!

Complete Series

Having aired from 2008-2012, Merlin is a completed series, which can be watched at the viewer’s own leisure. No need to suffer through hiatus, it is the perfect opportunity for you to binge-watch the entire show at the click of a button! What’s even better is that this fantasy-adventure series is packed with five epic seasons filled with magical action which all the family can enjoy.

Colin Morgan Merlin
Story Arc

One aspect of the show which makes it exciting to watch is that the action is spread evenly throughout each of the five seasons, meaning that there is no season which feels less important than the others. Each season, whilst action packed, is not too overwhelming in terms of the events which occur and each one—in fact each episode—will undoubtedly leave the viewer craving more.

Arthur and Merlin in BBC Merlin
Theme

Now, much like the issue some have with the Harry Potter series, some of you may be thinking that you won’t find Merlin enjoyable because what with all that magic and those mythical creatures… it’s just ‘completely unrealistic’ and a waste of time, right? Wrong! The story features some very significant and prominent themes which do in fact feature in the reality of our everyday lives. From friendship to betrayal, the exploration of life and death, Merlin is a show which takes these concepts and holds the potential to teach the viewers about them within a fictional setting.

Why not allow your children to understand the values of friendship by watching the bond between Merlin and Arthur grow throughout the course of the show? Allow Morgana to show you what it means to be independent and brave enough to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. More importantly, allow the show to assist you in believing that it is always okay to be your true self!

Relationships

This alone is a reason in itself as to why you should watch Merlin. If not for the individual characters and their own storylines and impressive development, the way in which they interact with the other characters made for compelling watch. From the humour-filled bromance between Arthur and Merlin, the strange bond between Morgana and Mordred, and the tragic love story of Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere, the relationships of the characters allows for the fans to dive into the shipping realm of the fandom just as any other good drama does. These relationships, with the additional bonus of many others, not only proves to be entertaining drama, but in fact goes to show how people can enter our lives for a mere moment yet hold influence over us in a much greater way and how some relationships are just meant to be.

Merlin and Arthur in BBC Merlin

To conclude, those are only a few of the reasons in existence as to why you should watch Merlin. So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and enjoy the five season series filled with warlocks, witches, all kinds of magical creatures, knights in shining armour, and a story which “will live long in the hearts of men”.

Watch the Merlin Ultimate Trailer Seasons 1-5 by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsdMNnSsdlg&feature=youtu.be

The following article can also be read on The Nerd Daily website by clicking on the following link: http://www.thenerddaily.com/reasons-to-watch-the-merlin-tv-series/

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Article: The Family We Call Fandoms

What is a “fandom”? Of course, if you’re interested in discovering the definition then you could just use Google to search for and find your answer. Google defines the word fandom as “the state or condition of being a fan of someone or something” and “the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc. regarded collectively as a community or subculture”. In regard to this examination of fandoms within the society of us readers, TV show lovers, and movie fanatics, neither definition is wrong.

However, neither definition succeeds in doing anything beyond scratching the surface as to what fandoms truly are. The term ‘community’ used in the definition provided by Google is fitting yet doesn’t quite express the strength and power to which being a part of a fandom holds. ‘Community’ portrays this idealistic, yet untrue, image of a large collection of individuals living and expressing their mutual love for said thing in harmony. However, there are times in which being a part of a fandom, or indeed multiple fandoms, is anything but harmonious… Therefore, it could be more fitting to use a different term to describe what fandoms are: fandoms are families. Those a part of a fandom can most likely agree to this use of terminology.

Fandoms are filled with people worldwide who come together to participate in the discussion of their favourite TV shows, books, movies, etc. Those individuals participate in a wide variety of activities which play a part in the ‘fandom life’ such as fanfiction writing, drawing fanart, and roleplaying etc.

There are many fandoms which exist today, some more popular than others and each with their own delights and disasters. Examples of the more popular fandoms today are as follows:

  • Potterheads – fans of the Harry Potter book/movie series
  • Whovians – Doctor Who fanatics
  • Thronies – Game of Thrones fans
  • Sherlockians – Sherlock fans, mostly those who are fans of the BBC TV series although it does extend to those who are fans solely of the movie adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes tales starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law
  • Merlinians – Fans of the beloved show Merlin which featured also on the BBC channel

Other fandoms which exist revolve around a mixture of TV shows, movies, books and even just individual actors, such as ShadowhuntersSupernaturalTeen WolfThe Hunger GamesMaze RunnerLord of the RingsTwilight and more…

But whilst all these fandom ‘families’ may dwell within their own fictional worlds, sometimes two separate fandoms, or even three, may co-join with one another. This occurrence is known as a crossover and is often seen in fanfiction or even encountered during roleplaying, examples of this include:

  • PotterLock – In which the Sherlock characters are enrolled or have been at Hogwarts much like the characters of Harry Potterthemselves.
  • SuperWhoLock – A mix of SupernaturalDoctor Who, and Sherlock characters merged together to create an even wider universe for fanfiction writing and roleplaying prompts.

The fandoms mentioned and the others which exist are able to merge so easily now with the help that the Internet provides and sites like Twitter, Tumblr, ArchiveOfOurOwn, Fanfiction.net, and those used for roleplaying help to further expand the material surrounding a fandom by use of the fans’ imagination. One of the advantages which the Internet has with providing fans with the opportunity to interact with one another and create even their own material is that it allows—more often than not—for fans to keep the show alive even after it is over. For example, the BBC TV Show Merlin which ended in 2014 and MTV’s Teen Wolf has long been kept alive with the help of fans sharing their own AU fan fictions and fan art via sites such as Tumblr and even groups which can be found on Facebook. However, it’s not just the internet which allows for fans to interact with each other and even with their favourite actors and authors alike, but events held like Comic-Con allow for fans to gather, cosplay (dress up as their favourite characters), and meet those whom they admire!

Of course, as stated earlier in this article, not everything about being a part of a fandom is smiles, laughter, and fans coming together without complaint or disagreement… Fandoms are like families, after all, and families have their rocky patches. A big issue with the fandom life is the controversy which comes with being an individual fan in a sea of them, each with their own beliefs surrounding the material which canon provides. One of the biggest controversies within a fandom comes with the idea of shipping.

More often than not, fans are happy with the final relationships which come out of the works produced by their beloved authors and directors. However, this isn’t always the case and even if it is, where is the fun in refusing to explore the various outcomes of a product. Various ships which exist out with canon are:

Dramione – Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series
Jalec – Jace Herondale and Alec Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments series
Newtmas – Newt and Thomas from The Maze Runner series
Sterek – Stiles Stilinski and Derek Hale from the Teen Wolf series
Cherik – Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr from the X-Men series
JohnLock – John Watson and Sherlock Holmes from the Sherlock series
Merthur – Merlin and Arthur Pendragon from the Merlin series

All these ships allow for individual fans to explore the “what if’s” of their favourite movies, TV shows, and romance storylines. However, not everyone is a fan of a particular ship or in agreement of two characters being anything more than what they are in canon or even just friends and so the controversy starts. Shipping is not the only thing within a fandom which causes controversy either, more often than not fans headbutt each other when it comes to the many theories which each of them create; theories such as “How Did Sherlock Holmes survive? Is Jim Moriarty truly dead? Is the new Doctor being a woman a good thing? What if Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter had become friends in Year 1? What if Arthur had known about Merlin’s magic all along?” All of these theories can be found somewhere online with a great number of people arguing their own case, agreeing, disagreeing, and providing evidence to back up their points, the entire experience of joining in or even just observing is highly intriguing.

As stated, all these fan interactions allow for a fandom to remain alive through the fans themselves but just how far are fans willing to go to save what they love? One fandom, in particular, is the perfect example to use when exploring this question.

With the cancellation of the Shadowhunters series being announced on June 5th 2018, the fans of the beloved show were sent into a frenzy and it’s clear that Freeform picked the wrong fandom to mess with… The below image provides merely a few stories as to what lengths the fans have gone to in their attempts to save the show from creating the trending tweets #saveshadowhunters, #savetheshadowworld and sharing multiple images throughout the internet to hiring a plane to fly over the Netflix HQ carrying the banner #saveshadowhunters and more!

Saving Shadowhunters In The News

With campaigns being held over the social media and petitions going around via Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, countless fans doing their part in helping to save the shadow world which we have come to love from the moment it hit our screens, there is no doubt that proof exists as to how important fandoms can be to us fangirl and fanboys. And whilst the fate of the show can not yet be determined, it’s clear that the dedication shown by fans allow for everyone to see how much of a family the fans truly are. They may be at war with one another at times regarding various aspects of the show, but mess with the show itself and the fans will stand together to fight side by side to save what has allowed for them to create such a family in the first place.

If that’s not family, then what is?

This article can also be read on The Nerd Daily website by clicking on the following link: http://www.thenerddaily.com/the-family-we-call-fandoms/

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Trailer Review: ‘The Darkest Minds’

The Ones Who Changed Will Change Everything

If you’re after a new YA book-to-movie adaptation, then The Darkest Minds will be fixing your cravings this month. The new film is based on the novel written by Alexandra Bracken of the same name and the trailer teases fans with a visual as to what they can expect in the upcoming movie.

The sci-fi thriller directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Kung Fu Panda 3) is set to have a run time of an hour and 45 minutes, which will provide the audience with ample time to experience and action-packed and dystopian-like adventure, which could very well rival the entertainment levels provided to us by the popular The Hunger Games series…

From the producers of Stranger Things, the trailer for The Darkest Minds certainly has a peculiar feel to it and it even has similarities the movies such as The Hunger GamesHarry Potter and X-Men – creating yet another example of children with unnatural powers and abilities being forced to band together to overthrow those in positions of power.

The Darkest Minds follows the character of 16-year-old Ruby, played by Amanda Stenberg (Everything, Everything), who just so happens to be one of the most powerful of those now possessing ‘gifts’ that anyone has ever encountered. After escaping her camp, Ruby is united with a group of runaway teenagers who are attempting to seek somewhere safe to hide from the Government determined to capture them. Together, she and her new friends come together to conduct a resistance to stand against those who betrayed them by putting each of their individual abilities to use to save the future of them all. As stated by another character capable of extraordinary abilities within the trailer; “The only people who would ever help us… are us.”.

Overall, The Darkest Minds looks to be a successful movie, which could attract a wide audience and if you are interested in being a part of it and witnessing the revolution begin, then there isn’t much longer to wait. The Darkest Minds is hitting theatres internationally this month, so check out your local listings to find out when you can go see it!

The Darkest Minds stars Amandla Stenberg (Everything, Everything), Mandy Moore (This Is Us), Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones), Skylan Brooks (The Get Down), Harris Dickinson (Trust), and Miya Cech (American Horror Story).

To watch the trailer for The Darkest Minds then just click on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN8o_E_f9FQ

This trailer review can also be read on The Nerd Daily website by clicking on the following link: http://www.thenerddaily.com/the-darkest-minds-movie-adaptation/

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Movie Review: American Assassin

They took everything from him. Now he’s taking it back.

That is just one of the taglines used to help advertise the movie, American Assassin, which is an adaptation of Vince Flynn’s 2010 novel of the same name. The movie brings Flynn’s characters to life and allows the audience to witness the events that turned college student Mitch Rapp into one of the CIA’s top assassins.

Directed by Michael Cuesta, this action thriller has a run time of just under two hours that effortlessly manages to keep viewers on the edge of their seats throughout its entirety. Rated 18 due to the violent nature of many scenes within the film, American Assassin has been criticised for being another stereotypical spy movie, such as the Jason Bourne movies. However, despite the similarities of having a character recruited into the secret service/CIA and ultimately becoming a well-known and skilled agent, American Assassin creates a new kind of origin tale.

Enter Mitch Rapp: this generations Jason Bourne who is topped with the determination of Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills in Taken and a whole load of self-taught skills to boot. Portrayed by Dylan O’Brien (known for The Maze Runner and Teen Wolf), Mitch Rapp is a young man who becomes determined to wipe out the terrorists throughout the world after losing his fiancée in an attack whilst on holiday together. This event, which is cleverly shown to the audience through a dream, is the catalyst for Rapp to put himself through an extensive and rigorous training scheme. This allows him to manage his own resources in order to infiltrate and take down the terrorist groups unfortunate enough to be targeted.

Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) in America Assassin

While infiltrating the terrorist group that played part to his fiancée’s death, Mitch Rapp is apprehended by the CIA to be psychologically examined. Rapp learns that whilst he has been tracking terrorists, the CIA has been tracking him for recruitment, which is overseen by the CIA’s Deputy Director, Irene Kennedy (Sanaa Lathan). From this point on, Mitch Rapp is able to develop his skills to become the ultimate killer with the reluctant help of former veteran, Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton), who spends the majority of the program attempting to humiliate and push Rapp over the edge with a number of twisted mind games.

The psychological torture that Stan puts Mitch through on-screen makes it difficult to know whether or not Hurley is one that can be trusted. His determination to have Rapp packing his bags and quit the program equally rivals Rapp’s willpower and desire to stay. The constant attempts to put Rapp down coupled with his never-ending criticism of the way in which Rapp works best makes it clear from the very beginning that in one way or another the ex-veteran is out to get the young recruit. However, this ‘tough-love’ form of pushing Rapp turns out to be a somewhat reasonable means of attempting to keep Rapp under control and focused on the tasks at hand especially when the it is revealed to the audience that Rapp is not the first rogue-goer recruit that Hurley has taken under his wing…

Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) and Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton) in America Assassin

It Takes One To Know One. Every good hero needs a villain to complete them and no antagonist is more fitting than one with numerous similarities to the protagonist. Cue “Ghost”, a mysterious character that not even readers of the book would be expecting to be introduced to. This clever twist within the plot makes for an even more compelling story in regard to both the plot itself and the character relationships throughout it. Ghost portrayed by Taylor Kitsch was once in Mitch’s position and has now travelled down a darker path with the aim of building a nuclear device. With the main antagonist of the story holding so many similarities with Rapp’s character, it isn’t impossible to imagine just how easily it would be for Mitch to end up following in the same footsteps. It’s not surprising as to why Hurley was so hard on Rapp—clearly the older man just didn’t want to be responsible for another Agent turned traitor.

Another character relationship which the movie cleverly dives into is that relationship between Hurley and his former recruit, Ghost. Having encountered Mitch Rapp twice now throughout the course of the movie, Ghost seems adamant that he meets the young protegé once again although it’s clear that the next time will not result in Rapp evading death as he so cleverly manages within the film.

Mitch Rapp (Dylan O'Brien) in America Assassin

In a gruesome and nail-biting scene towards the end of the movie, Hurley is captured and interrogated by Ghost who tortures Hurley for information on the whereabouts of his team. The questions quickly narrowed down to one member of Hurley’s team in particular: Mitch Rapp. With Mitch on his way to the location where Hurley is being kept by Ghost, the cliché hero versus villain fight quickly approaches and the face off between Mitch and Ghost provides the audience with one of the most intense and gritty fights shown on-screen as Mitch attempts to stop Ghost from succeeding in his mission of detonating the nuclear bomb. With the stakes high and time running out, Mitch will have to compile everything that he has learned over the past few months in order to defeat someone who is quite possibly the only match for himself before it is too late…

View the trailer for the movie American Assassin by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9rNf-cLWKU

This movie review can also be read on The Nerd Daily website by clicking on the following link: http://www.thenerddaily.com/movie-review-american-assassin/

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